Restaurant Apps: Here Today,Gone Tomorrow?


Recently, I have noticed quite a few restaurants launching and promoting their own restaurant app. Is this a brand’s attempt to stay “relevant” and get in front of the growing Millennial audience? Are these restaurant apps here to stay, or are they just a trend that will fade away?

First, let’s take a look at what restaurant apps typically offer:
Order online | Get in line online | Pay your bill | Special offers | Earn rewards | Send digital gift cards | View menu | Find locations | Curbside orders

Will restaurant apps become a vital key to a restaurant’s success? Will they prove to be marketing gold? While the future for restaurant apps is uncertain, we do know that they certainly provide a few key areas for marketers:

Customer loyalty
Customers love deals. Providing an easy way for loyal customers to keep track of their rewards will definitely pull loyal customers even closer. Goodbye, punch cards!

Special promotions
For restaurants running special promotions, this is a great way to advertise those promos for free!

Tech space
With everyone glued to their smartphones, it was only inevitable for brands to find a way to provide easy access for our tech-savvy society. Restaurant apps are staying relevant in the minds of their consumers by meeting them where they are – on their smartphones.

Push notifications
Brands can utilize push notifications to alert customers of current promos, unused rewards or menu updates. Again, this provides the opportunity for free marketing!

Customers are always on the go. Providing them a way to avoid lines, have their order ready and paid for when they arrive…and even meet them at their car is the ultimate convenience.

Some apps have unique features that standout from the typical restaurant app. Starbucks allows you to see what music is currently playing in their various locations. Taco Bell has different games to play. Chick-Fil-A and Outback Steakhouse offer curbside delivery. Krispy Kreme alerts you when fresh donuts are coming off the line and allows you to invite a friend to join you there. Yogurtland has a flavor finder so that you can find a location with the flavor you want. If that’s not convenience at your fingertips, then I don’t know what is!

Check out these restaurant apps for some of the big name brands out there:
Starbucks | McDonalds | Chipotle | Taco Bell | Panera Bread | Jimmy John’s | Chick-Fil-A | TGI Fridays | Krispy Kreme | Yogurtland

To see a full list of restaurant apps visit the App Store.

When will I be able to tap the Taco Bell app on my phone, order a Crunchwrap Supreme, and get it delivered to my door?
Andrea Cochran, Account Executive, Agency Creative

So, what feature are all these restaurant apps missing? What would really change the dynamic of the restaurant industry? Delivery. And I’m not talking about those restaurants that already have the delivery model in place, like Jimmy John’s or Domino’s. When will I be able to tap the Taco Bell app on my phone, order a Crunchwrap Supreme and get it delivered to my door? That day will change the fast food industry forever.

We are a Dallas advertising agency with expertise in restaurant marketing and digital marketing.